Definition of civilized 

: characteristic of a state of civilization civilized society especially : characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint

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Examples of civilized in a Sentence

A civilized society must respond to crime with fairness and justice. Stop yelling. We have to be more civilized about this. Try to act like a civilized human being! a civilized way to spend the evening
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Recent Examples on the Web

Florida’s law contravenes our nation’s commitment to dignity and its duty to teach human decency as the mark of a civilized world. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Five times Anthony Kennedy was the fifth vote shows the significance of his retirement," 28 June 2018 David Brooks, a civilized and erudite commentator in the New York Times, led the way out of the inferno for the conservative anti-Trump intelligentsia. Conrad Black, National Review, "Michael Wolff and the Death Rattle of Trumpophobia," 10 Jan. 2018 And there’s something wonderfully civilized about that, too. David Abrahams, Vogue, "At a Wimbledon Full of Unprecedented Twists and Turns, Scenes From On and Off the Court," 13 July 2018 There were no other options that far from the civilized McMurdo Station. Sarah Scoles, Outside Online, "The Harassment Problem in Scientific Dream Jobs," 21 May 2018 The best place to spot that creativity was during mealtimes in the dining car — itself a rare reminder of how civilized traveling used to be in this country. Caille Millner,, "All-American road trip — by train," 28 June 2018 But there are some core humane lines no civilized country should cross, some red lines, such as torture, or mistreatment of prisoners, or the wrenching of children from loving parents by agents of the state. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Another Glimpse of State Terror in Trump’s America," 8 June 2018 And that show disrespect for the other people in a civilized society. Fox News, "Larry Kudlow on trade with China, North Korea talks," 31 May 2018 And the interactions with black nurses were largely civilized. Alexis Clark, Smithsonian, "The Army’s First Black Nurses Were Relegated to Caring for Nazi Prisoners of War," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civilized.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of civilized

1611, in the meaning defined above

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Phrases Related to civilized

civilized world

Statistics for civilized

Last Updated

27 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for civilized

The first known use of civilized was in 1611

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More Definitions for civilized



English Language Learners Definition of civilized

: marked by well-organized laws and rules about how people behave with each other

: polite, reasonable, and respectful

: pleasant and comfortable

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Comments on civilized

What made you want to look up civilized? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make amends

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